Your husband must be so proud of you, the sales clerk says. He is, I respond. Every time I do something like speak at the UN, it makes his stock go up at work. There are a bunch of people at his job who follow my career, they are always asking about what I am up to.
I am standing in the dressing room of my favorite store. I have just tried on a variety of outfits, ranging from leisure wear to an orange silk shirt that drew me to the rack like a magnet to a lodestone. So when the sales clerk asked why I always wear pink? I showed her the garments I had chosen and explained how each one helps me be a walking advertisement for my business.
My husband works very long hours. Yesterday, he came home exhausted after dealing with a database outage that derailed the project he was working on. He spent the evening finishing this project from our bedroom.
While he was working, I fed the kids dinner. Supervised a playdate with two other families. Fielded requests for us to attend events this weekend. And in between taking care of my family? I got ideas for work projects, that I filed away to execute after the kids went to bed.
My husband and I are equally committed to our family. However, his work takes priority over our family schedule. And my work? Fits around our family.
Why did I agree to this arrangement? Am I less capable than my husband? Did I earn less money before we had children? No and no. I agreed to this setup – indeed, initiated it – because this was the only way I could have three children.
Childbirth is physically exhausting. I also have difficult pregnancies, plus am committed to breastfeeding. With each child, I lose 18-24 months of my life. It is only now, when my youngest child is four, that I am back to where I was before I became a parent. And now? We are extremely fortunate that my husband has a job that involves no travel plus allows him to handle the morning routine for our older two children. But we have three tiny people who have softball games and dance classes. Whose tummies hurt and need to be picked up early from school because their eyes hurt from allergy season.
With each child, the odds go up exponentially that something will happen requiring the physical presence of a parent. That means many families have only one or two children. The greatest gift my being an entrepreneur has given my family? Is a third child who fills all our lives with joy.
Kathy Zucker is an international social media Shorty Award winner, mother of three and a startup founder at companies including the Metro Moms Network®.